D&D 5E Multiple saves needs to go

Example: 3 saves to be turned to stone.

Why? Just to make it look easier?

I can live with a new save each turn to break an in place spell but making it 3X easier to not let the spell hit is just to far.

I’d even say it bogs things down.

My usual 5E group tried an older Ed recently and one of players who’s only ever played 5E said that only one save made him feel like it made making a save more important.

And yeah he gets it and I agree.

Thoughts on the multi-saves of 5E?
 

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pukunui

Legend
Multiple saves to avoid being turned to stone (and saves per round to break out of being paralyzed and such) were introduced in 4e and carried across to 5e. The devs' reasoning has always been that player feedback indicated that the "save or die/suck" effects from previous editions were not fun.

That said, there are still elements of this in 5e ... just the other day my fighter got whacked by a DC 15 stun effect, and although he does actually have a +1 to Intelligence, it took ages for me to roll high enough to break free, so I spent a good chunk of the combat unable to do anything on my turns - which wasn't as much fun as actually being able to participate would have been. (And in a previous campaign, my barbarian got hit with feeblemind and literally could not make the save, so he was out of the game until someone else was able to dispel the effect.)
 

DND_Reborn

Legend
FWIW, here's how we do things with our MOD/ house-rules:

If a spell requires concentration and allows repeated saves (e.g. hold person) each round, choose one or the other:

1. You choose concentration. Saves are not repeated (or auto failed).
2. You choose NOT to concentrate or lose concentration. Saves now repeat.

So, with hold person, the cleric could cast it and choose NOT to concentrate, but then the target gets to save each round to shrug off the effect. If the cleric chooses to concentrate, then the target (after failing the initial save, which is always allowed!) would NOT get to make saves unless the cleric drops concentration.

For something like flesh to stone, if you concentrate, the target WILL become stone after three rounds. However, if you lose concentration, the target begins making saves normally, but with each concentrated round being an auto failure...
 

James Gasik

Legend
Supporter
Honestly, I want to see more mechanics like Sleep or Color Spray, where you need to get someone low on hit points to actually slap them with serious negative status effects- it makes for nice synergy between weapon users who only deal hit point damage, and casters who want to use SoS or SoD effects.

I've liked this design ever since I first saw the Power Word spells.
 

MarkB

Legend
Honestly, I want to see more mechanics like Sleep or Color Spray, where you need to get someone low on hit points to actually slap them with serious negative status effects- it makes for nice synergy between weapon users who only deal hit point damage, and casters who want to use SoS or SoD effects.

I've liked this design ever since I first saw the Power Word spells.
You could balance it across levels by reintroducing the Bloodied status - creatures need to be at half hit points or lower to become susceptible.
 

ad_hoc

(he/they)
Honestly, I want to see more mechanics like Sleep or Color Spray, where you need to get someone low on hit points to actually slap them with serious negative status effects- it makes for nice synergy between weapon users who only deal hit point damage, and casters who want to use SoS or SoD effects.

I've liked this design ever since I first saw the Power Word spells.

I'd like it if there was a narrative & mechanical way to guess at how many hit points a creature has.

As it is, hit points are all over the place. We can figure out when tougher creatures don't go down that they're tough but how tough?
 

I think some spells are in need of some balance, like your example flesh to stone.

However I really like the save to end effect, which replaced older edition
"x rounds / caster level" or worse "1d4 rounds".
It makes tracking combat so much easier, because you don't have to remember how long an effect was in place and it alsonscales nicely with caster level, and good saves help you breal free earlier.

I think 3 saves before 3 losses could be salvaged by starting with a useful effect and then going up or down a step on a spell specific condition track (or in a few cases a general).

It could be:
??? -> slowed -> stunned -> paralyzed -> petrified.

And for flesh to stone, it could start at stunned.
 

jgsugden

Legend
These are not the only two options. You can have other options that preserve the fun, but work between 3 saves and 1 save by itself.

See a medusa. Get a save. If you fail that one save, you're turning to stone, but it takes 3 rounds. However, a medicine check can allow someone to make a salve out of the medusa that will restore you if applied in the first hour.

See a medusa. Get a save. If you fail, roll a d6. On a 1 your right arm turns to stone. On a 2 your right leg. On a 3 your left arm. Ona 4 your left leg. On a 5 or a 6 your entire body turns. Repeat the save until your entire body turns, or you make a save - at which time you stop turning to stone, but that which is stone stays stone.

See a medusa. Get a save. If you fail, you gain a level of exhaustion. You gain an additional level of exhaustion at the start of the medusa's turn, and at the start of your turn. 6 levels of exhaustion turns you to stone 'rather than' killing you. You may use an action to roll a new save. If you make the save, you stop gaining levels of exhaustion - but keep the ones you have.
 

Rabulias

the Incomparably Shrewd and Clever
If a spell requires concentration and allows repeated saves (e.g. hold person) each round, choose one or the other:

1. You choose concentration. Saves are not repeated (or auto failed).
2. You choose NOT to concentrate or lose concentration. Saves now repeat.

So, with hold person, the cleric could cast it and choose NOT to concentrate, but then the target gets to save each round to shrug off the effect. If the cleric chooses to concentrate, then the target (after failing the initial save, which is always allowed!) would NOT get to make saves unless the cleric drops concentration.

For something like flesh to stone, if you concentrate, the target WILL become stone after three rounds. However, if you lose concentration, the target begins making saves normally, but with each concentrated round being an auto failure...
So breaking a caster's concentration in this case does not automatically remove the spell? You just give your ally a chance to save each round? If a target fails their saving throw, can concentration be re-established the next round?
 

DND_Reborn

Legend
So breaking a caster's concentration in this case does not automatically remove the spell? You just give your ally a chance to save each round? If a target fails their saving throw, can concentration be re-established the next round?
No, "breaking" a caster's concentration ends the spell IF the caster was concentrating. If the caster never choose to concentrate, the spell runs its course.

If the caster chooses to drop concentration, they cannot re-establish it.

In essence, by choosing to concentrate, you are denying further saves--making the spell more powerful--but at the risk that if you are damaged and have that concentration "broken", the spell ends.

If you choose NOT to concentrate, the magic runs its course, but saves are allowed each round, making the spell "weaker" by comparison, but less risky.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
No, "breaking" a caster's concentration ends the spell IF the caster was concentrating. If the caster never choose to concentrate, the spell runs its course.

If the caster chooses to drop concentration, they cannot re-establish it.
Your wording upthread made this unclear; I was about to ask the same question as did @Rabulias . Thanks for clarifying. :)
 


Jer

Legend
Supporter
I agree with @Vaalingrade that save-or-suck isn't much fun - for the players or frankly for my own monsters when they get hit by it. It's worse for the players because they only have one character and I have many, but it's still not great.

On the other hand, multiple saves is also kind of a boring way to solve the problem. It works, but it's not exciting. It would be fun if each failed save was meaningful and caused more complications for the PC as they kept failing - as actual complications that might lead to interesting play and not just a death spiral that makes it harder for them to save the more they fail saves. So like a character hit by a turn to stone effect on their first failed save might have disadvantage on their attack rolls and physical ability checks (not saves), on their second failed save they become restrained, on their third one they might become blinded and deafened and the fourth one finally become petrified. Not every save-or-suck effect might have that kind of track, but something that happens with each failed save that isn't just putting you one step closer to doom would be nice.
 


Bill Zebub

“It’s probably Matt Mercer’s fault.”
I gotta say, I understand why save or suck/die is no fun for players, but for all the talk about how wizards are awesome and fighters suck, in my experience with 5e the monsters make an awful lot of their saving throws, but they get hit by an awful lot of swords and arrows. Especially arrows.
 

Absolutely not. There's a very good reason things moved to this model, and why 5e kept this despite it being mostly a 4e-ism (IIRC you saw some stuff do this in very late 3.5e, and in PF as well.)

I'd like something where save or suck aint so bad; as long as you aint bloodied.
This, on the other hand, could make things interesting....except that in-combat healing sucks and cannot meaningfully address the issue, so it just turns the game into rocket tag of "who can get the other side to bloodied the fastest?" The answer will almost always be the PCs in mass fights, and almost always the BBEG in solo fights with a creature that has Legendary Actions. As a result, control-focused casters will dominate in non-"boss" fights, while front-line fighters will suffer rather badly in solo fights (because they'll be the ones most likely to get hit with the "Nastier Specials," as 13A puts it.)

If 5e actually had worthwhile in-combat healing, making it easy to avoid dangerous effects while above bloodied and difficult to do so below bloodied would be a tactically-rich decision environment. With 5e as it currently exists, this would be hardly distinguishable from returning to the "one save, you're dead/debilitated" model.
 

I agree with @Vaalingrade that save-or-suck isn't much fun - for the players or frankly for my own monsters when they get hit by it. It's worse for the players because they only have one character and I have many, but it's still not great.

On the other hand, multiple saves is also kind of a boring way to solve the problem. It works, but it's not exciting. It would be fun if each failed save was meaningful and caused more complications for the PC as they kept failing - as actual complications that might lead to interesting play and not just a death spiral that makes it harder for them to save the more they fail saves. So like a character hit by a turn to stone effect on their first failed save might have disadvantage on their attack rolls and physical ability checks (not saves), on their second failed save they become restrained, on their third one they might become blinded and deafened and the fourth one finally become petrified. Not every save-or-suck effect might have that kind of track, but something that happens with each failed save that isn't just putting you one step closer to doom would be nice.
Believe it or not, this is what 4e actually did, in a few different ways. You had the "poison/disease track," which would have effects that scaled up(/down) depending on how many saves you failed(/succeeded). You also had several powers and monster actions which would only trigger their full, devastating effects if you failed three saves in a row or the like, with each failed save making the problem progressively worse.

E.g. a medusa's Petrifying Gaze: it's an at-will attack, standard action, attacking all creatures within 25 feet, which causes the target to be slowed (save ends); on the first failed save, the target is instead immobilized (save ends); on the third failed save, the target is petrified (no save.) Blinded targets are immune. This is important for three reasons: one, it heightens tension, especially because this is an at-will so it can be used repeatedly; two, it allows the players to do something about it, because they can do things to try to boost their saving throw results; and three, it has a clear means of attempting to avoid it, by accepting blindness, but this specific monster is a medusa archer, and has a melee attack (her snake hair) which reduces Fortitude, making the petrifying gaze more likely to land, so you have to weigh the pros and cons of various approaches to the problem.
 

Stalker0

Legend
So the trick is how you think of the spell.

Flesh to Stone isn't really a petrification spell. Petrify is like rolling near max damage on a fireball, sure it could happen, but that's not what your expecting when you cast it.

Flesh to Stone is basically a "save or be restrained for the rest of the fight". At absolute best, the enemy will be restrained for 3 of their turns, which in the vast majority of 5e combats is the entire fight. And if they fail a few more saves, it lasts even longer. So for the right monster its a decent effect (though not for 6th level, at that level it should be affecting multiple creatures).

Now that said, I think its a clunky mechanic to perform that purpose for this spell, its a lot of save rolling for what amounts to little effect in actual practice (also the auto petrify clause is very weird because its cannot happen, once the target has gone 6 rounds it will have either made or failed 3 saves....so there is no scenario where the spell lasts for the full 10 rounds) I think a cleaner mechanic to use would be this.


Flesh to Stone
On a failed save, the target is restrained for the duration. If concentration is maintained for the entire duration, the target makes a constitution saving throw, and on a failure becomes petrified.
 

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